Being a farmer can sometimes be more than a full-time job. Farmers always have their hands full, so it’s not always easy to think that signing up for a seminar, conference or training course is a wise investment or a good use of time.

The overall success of any farm, is pretty clearly in favor of doing just that.
Recent research backs up the importance and actual value of continuous, lifelong learning for farm owners, and employees. This is especially important for those farmers who have acquired loans to purchase, land, supplies and equipment.

The facts:
Farmers require upfront and ongoing education to stay aware of fast-moving developments in technology, science, business management, and an array of other skills and fields that affect agricultural operations.

We here at Veteran Farmers Group want to see more farmers on the land, especially Military Veterans, and a system in which family farms can flourish, which will enrich their local markets. As farmers thrive, they care for the land, strengthen their communities, generate income for themselves and others, and produce food for their region. Our role is to provide access to any and every tool available to help make this happen

Below you will find a number of training programs across the country. Many are totally free, and some are even available to online study.

Also, take advantage of our Free Book Download section. You will find a wealth of information.

Available Training Programs:

Open University

These online courses at Open University are organized by linked and labeled sections and sub-sections in outline form. The course outline remains in view in a left sidebar, while the main content may be accessed and browsed on the rest of the page. How Do We Adapt Agriculture to Climate Change? discusses such topics as greenhouse gases, food security, and industrial agriculture, as well as a call for structural shifts in agriculture to account for climate change. A link is provided to a printable version that displays the full content of the course on one page. Social Issues and GM Crops addresses effects, implications, and ethical questions regarding genetically modified (GM) food and crops. Students will learn about GM food safety assessment, the experiments and findings of scientist Arpad Pusztai, and food production considerations, among other subjects. This class is also viewable in printable form.

Purdue University

Rather than college courses per se, these resources are written expositions that were researched, composed, or made with significant contributions by Purdue University faculty members. The articles listed here are only a few in a catalog of such resources with categories like agribusiness and farms, crops, and livestock. Agricultural Biotechnology gives an overview and definition of biotechnology, along with a discussion of its potential effects, uses, and implications in the contexts of food and agriculture. The document is viewable online but not available for download. Pesticides and the Environment addresses ways the interactions between pesticides and environmental factors influence the effect pesticides have on the ecosystems to which they are introduced. This article may be viewed online but is also not downloadable. Weed Control in No-Tillage Systemsoutlines strategies for establishing and maintaining weed control, incorporating issues such as weed identification, herbicide application timing, and postemergence procedures. This paper may be downloaded as a PDF file and includes a chart delineating weed types and the recommended herbicides for controlling them among different kinds of crops.

The University of Florida

These free courses are accessible online in audio format and include corresponding PowerPoint slides. Though each course may play as a single audio file, a list of the content areas is also viewable in a sidebar, so students may click on a link any time to go to a particular topic. Irrigation Components teaches students about controllers, electrical valves, backflow prevention implements, and sprinklers, among other subjects. In Soil Sampling and Testing, students receive instruction about soil nutrients, how to interpret soil test results, and fertilizer suggestions. Information on the materials and steps required to obtain a soil sample is also provided.

Utah State University

These free Utah State University classes offer session notes, reading materials, and video lectures. In order to access the video format, students will need to utilize Internet Explorer version 5.0 or higher. The Irrigation and Conveyance Control Systemscourse offers downloadable notes from all lectures, which address topics such as open channel current metering, canal gate calibration, and culvert design. PDF files of course exams and assignments with the solutions included are available for download. Sprinkle and Trickle Irrigation also includes lecture notes that are downloadable as PDF files and cover subjects like center pivot operation and sprinkler uniformity, as well as planning considerations and types of irrigation systems. This class, too, offers assignments and tests with answers provided. Surface Irrigation Design comprises video lectures that cover such subjects as soil infiltration, tailwater reuse systems, and land leveling. A separate reading file available in PDF form covers topics like water management, different irrigation configurations, and a glossary. This class also offers a software download that allows students to design and simulate an irrigation system.

Free SARE Courses Advance Your Sustainable Ag Education

Free SARE Courses Advance Your Agriculture Knowledge

Looking to learn more about the core concepts of sustainable agriculture? SARE’s online, self-paced sustainable agriculture courses have been updated and expanded to include a course on Agricultural Ecosystem Management. The three courses cover core concepts in sustainable agriculture, its goals and its relevance to every farming and ranching operation, no matter the size.

“These online courses are an excellent way for Extension educators and anyone with an interest in sustainable agriculture to strengthen their knowledge base,” says Jim Freeburn, Western SARE’s Professional Development Program coordinator.

Start one of the free courses today:

  • Sustainable Agriculture Principles and Concept Overview provides an overview of sustainable agriculture, tracing its origins and exploring its relevance to farmers, ranchers and agricultural professionals nationwide.
  • Strategic Farm/Ranch Planning and Marketing covers farm/ranch planning and business development, marketing opportunities and strategies, and managing for long-term success.
  • Agricultural Ecosystem Management (NEW!) focuses on how to apply ecological principles in the management of crop and livestock systems, including tools and resources to achieve production goals, enhance stewardship of watersheds and wildlife, and improve farm profitability.

Additional Training can be accessed at: